Govinda Bhat, J.
1. 10 acres of Government land in survey number 129 of Byredevara village of Koppa Taluk was purchased by the petitioner L. R. Saldhana in a revenue auction sale held on 18-11-1947. Saguvali chit pursuant to the sale was issued in favour of the petitioner and he was put in possession. According to the petitioner, there are small pockets of Government lands in Survey Nos. 130, 131, 133, 134 and 136 of the said Byredevaru village interspersed between the lands of the petitioner. In the bona fide belief that the said pockets which measured 10 acres and 34 guntas formed part of his holding, he raised coffee and cardamom plants on the said lands. In about 1955, the Revenue Officers came to know of the said encroachment made by the petitioner and steps were taken to levy and collect T. T. fine and also to evict him. Thereupon, he applied on 31-3-1959 to the Assistant Commissioner, Tarikere. Sub-Division setting out the above facts pralines for stopping the eviction proceedings and to grant the encroached lands. On the said application, the Special Assistant Commissioner for Disposal of Darkhast, Chickmagalur District on 24-12-1962 made a recommendation to the Deputy Commissioner, Chickrnagalur District that the extent of the above 10 acres and 34 guntas of land in survey Nos. 130, 131, 132. 133, 134 and 136 aforesaid may be granted and confirmed in favour of the petitioner for coffee plantation at the penal upset price of Rs. 75/- per acre after changing the tenure for Bagayat to coffee since there are coffee plants of about 12 years on the lands. Copy of the said recommendation is marked as Exhibit 'C' to the writ petition. The Deputy Commissioner is alleged to have accepted the recommendation of the Special Assistant Commissioner and recommended to the Divisional Commissioner, Mysore Division, to confirm the grant in favour of the petitioner. On the said recommendation, the Divisional Commissioner (Respondent No. 3) accorded sanction for the grant of an extent of 10 acres and 34 guntas in the aforesaid numbers in favour of the petitioner for coffee plantation at penal upset price of Rupees 300/- per acre. He further ordered that the sale of 10 acres of land out of survey number 129 of Byredevaru village in the revenue auction held on 18-11-1947 should now be cancelled and the amount paid by him as purchase money should be set off against the amount now to be recovered. It is necessary to set out the order of the third respondent in full. It reads:
'C. Dis. LND II 14768/63-64
Office of the Divisional Commr.
Mysore Division, Mysore.
Dated 2/4th June 1964.
Sub: Grant of land in exchange to Sri L. R. Saldhana out of survey Nos. 130, 131. 132, 133, 134 and 136 of Byredevaru village, Koppa Taluk in lieu of S. No. 129.
Ref : Correspondence ending with letter No. M4/PR. DR. 70/62/63, dt. 12-3-1964 from the Deputy Commissioner, Chickmagalur District stating that the land in S. Nos. 130. 131, 132. 133. 134 and 136 of Byradevaru village. Koppa Taluk, is under unauthorised occupation and its grant for cultivation is unobjectionable and also recommending for the grant of an extent of 10-34 acres of bagayat land out of the said S. No. in favour of Sri L. R. Saldhana (encroacher) who is eligible for the same for coffee cultivation at penal upset price of Rs. 300/- per acre in lieu of 10.00 acres of land already granted in survey No. 129 etc.
Sanction is accorded for the grant of an extent of 10-34 acres of land out of S. Nos. 130, 131. 132. 133, 134 and 136 of Byredevaru village, Koppa Taluk, in favour of Sri L. R. Saldhana for coffee cultivation at penal upset price of Rs. 300/-(Rupees three Hundred only) Per acre as recommended by the Deputy Commissioner, Chickmagalur District, subject to reservation of water course running on the land.
'The malki of trees available on the land should be disposed of by the Forest Department.
The sale purchase of 10-00 acres of land out of S. No. 129 of Byredevaru village, obtained by the grantee in public auction held on 18-11-1947 should now be cancelled and the amount paid by him as purchase money should be set oft against the amount now to be recovered.
The preamble portion of the order states that the grant of the encroached land is in exchange of the lands purchased by him on 18-11-1947, but in the body of the order it makes no such reference. The recommendation made by the Assistant Commissioner does not state that the petitioner has consented for the exchange of the lands.
2. The order of the third respondent is altogether silent of the reasons for the cancellation of the auction sale. The petitioner has alleged in the affidavit filed in support of the writ petition that he was not heard before the third respondent and no notice of the hearing was given to him. The said allegation has remained unchallenged. The petitioner has also alleged that no copy of the order was served on him. After he came to know of the order, he preferred an appeal before the second respondent who rejected the same on the ground that it was barred by time; the delay was not condoned. Aggrieved by the orders of respondents 2 and 3, the petitioner has approached this court for relief under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution.
3. No counter-affidavit has been filed on behalf of the respondents and therefore the allegations made in the affidavit filed in support of the writ petition remains unchallenged and have to be accepted as correct. The order of the third respondent cancelling the auction sale held on 18-11-1947, 17 years after the sale took place, without assigning reasons without hearing the petitioner is highly arbitrary and illegal. The proceedings before the 3rd respondent related to the question of grant of the encroached lands. It was open to the 3rd respondent to grant or withhold sanction of the encroached lands in accordance with law. There were no proceedings before him for cancellation of the auction sale held on 18-11-1947. Therefore the entire action of the 3rd respondent in cancelling the said auction sale is highly arbitrary, illegal and without jurisdiction.
4. Every officer who exercises the power of the State has to act in accordance with law; when any action is taken which adversely affects the rights of citizens, it is settled law that no prejudicial action can be taken without affording a reasonable opportunity of being heard. In other words, the rules of natural justice require that every person whose rights are adversely affected should be heard by the authority before making the order. Further, the order has to state the reasons of the order and the provisions of the law under which action is taken. The order which gives no reasons is void in law. An order made in utter disregard of the rules of natural justice is also void. The 3rd respondent in the instant case has acted in a highly arbitrary manner as if there exists no rule of law.
5. For the reasons stated above, this writ petition is allowed and the impugned order of the 3rd respondent in so far as it cancels the auction sale of land held on 18-11-1947 in favour of the petitioner is hereby quashed. The 3rd respondent is liable to pay the costs of the petitioner. Advocate's fee Rs. 250/-.